SciCombinator

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Concept: RWTH Aachen

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BACKGROUND: Preparing medical students for the takeover or the start-up of a medical practice is an important challenge in Germany today. Therefore, this paper presents a computer-aided serious game (eMedOffice) developed and currently in use at the RWTH Aachen University Medical School. The game is part of the attempt to teach medical students the organizational and conceptual basics of the medical practice of a general practitioner in a problem-based learning environment. This paper introduces methods and concepts used to develop the serious game and describes the results of an evaluation of the game’s application in curricular courses at the Medical School. RESULTS: Results of the conducted evaluation gave evidence of a positive learning effect of the serious game. Educational supervisors observed strong collaboration among the players inspired by the competitive gaming aspects. In addition, an increase in willingness to learn and the exploration of new self-invented ideas were observed and valuable proposals for further prospective enhancements were elicited. A statistical analysis of the results of an evaluation provided a clear indication of the positive learning effect of the game. A usability questionnaire survey revealed a very good overall score of 4.07 (5=best, 1=worst). CONCLUSIONS: We consider web-based, collaborative serious games to be a promising means of improving medical education. The insights gained by the implementation of eMedOffice will promote the future development of more effective serious games for integration into curricular courses of the RWTH Aachen University Medical School.

Concepts: Aachen, RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, Education, University

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Increasing traffic loads and changes in code provisions lead to deficits in shear and flexural capacity of many existing highway bridges. Therefore, a large number of structures are expected to require refurbishment and strengthening in the future. This projection is based on the current condition of many older road bridges. Different strengthening methods for bridges exist to extend their service life, all having specific advantages and disadvantages. By applying a thin layer of carbon textile-reinforced mortar (CTRM) to bridge deck slabs and the webs of pre-stressed concrete bridges, the fatigue and ultimate strength of these members can be increased significantly. The CTRM layer is a combination of a corrosion resistant carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) fabric and an efficient mortar. In this paper, the strengthening method and the experimental results obtained at RWTH Aachen University are presented.

Concepts: Bridges, Tensile strength, Aachen, RWTH Aachen, Concrete, RWTH Aachen University, Bridge

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Vital parameter monitoring of term and preterm infants during incubator care with self-adhesive electrodes or sensors directly positioned on the skin [e.g. photoplethysmography (PPG) for oxygen saturation or electrocardiography (ECG)] is an essential part of daily routine care in neonatal intensive care units. For various reasons, this kind of monitoring contains a lot of stress for the infants. Therefore, there is a need to measure vital parameters (for instance respiration, temperature, pulse, oxygen saturation) without mechanical or conductive contact. As a non-contact method of monitoring, we present an adapted version of camera-based photoplethysmography imaging (PPGI) according to neonatal requirements. Similar to classic PPG, the PPGI camera detects small temporal changes in the term and preterm infant’s skin brightness due to the cardiovascular rhythm of dermal blood perfusion. We involved 10 preterm infants in a feasibility study [five males and five females; mean gestational age: 26 weeks (24-28 weeks); mean biological age: 35 days (8-41 days); mean weight at the time of investigation: 960 g (670-1290 g)]. The PPGI camera was placed directly above the incubators with the infant inside illuminated by an infrared light emitting diode (LED) array (850 nm). From each preterm infant, 5-min video sequences were recorded and analyzed post hoc. As the measurement scenario was kept as realistic as possible, the infants were not constrained in their movements in front of the camera. Movement intensities were assigned into five classes (1: no visible motion to 5: heavy struggling). PPGI was found to be significantly sensitive to movement artifacts. However, for movement classes 1-4, changes in blood perfusion according to the heart rate (HR) were recovered successfully (Pearson correlation: r=0.9759; r=0.765 if class 5 is included). The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Universal Hospital of the RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany (EK 254/13).

Concepts: IDEA League, German Universities Excellence Initiative, Fetus, Childbirth, RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, Light-emitting diode, Pediatrics

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Invited for the cover of this issue is the group of Meike Niggemann at the RWTH Aachen University. The image depicts a calcium catalyst brewing a magic potion-a carefully balanced choice of ingredients results in a new one-pot procedure for the carboarylation of internal alkynes. Read the full text of the article at 10.1002/chem.201406503.

Concepts: Aachen, RWTH Aachen, University, RWTH Aachen University

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The front cover artwork is provided by the groups of Prof. Wolfgang Stahl (RWTH Aachen University, Germany) and Dr. Ha Vinh Lam Nguyen (LISA, UPEC, France). The cover image shows the most stable conformation of 2-methyltetrahydrothiophene and the simulated spectrum (lower trace) compared to the experimental spectrum (upper trace). Read the full text of the article at 10.1002/cphc.201402727.

Concepts: Aachen, RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, University

0

Due to increasing automation, the number and complexity of technical components have increased in the medical context (e.g., in the clinic or in the home care sector) in recent years. Besides new effective and efficient therapeutic and diagnostic options, these devices entail a wide range of functions and very complex (often computer-based) user interfaces that may lead to human-induced risk potential. A systematic and early human risk analysis and a usability evaluation allow medical device manufacturers to identify and control risks within the human-machine interaction very efficiently. At the Department of Medical Engineering in the Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University, a formal-analytical methodology and a corresponding software tool for prospective human-risk analysis and model-based usability evaluation has been developed. Based on a twofold approach, user interactive process sequences and their potential impacts on the overall process are identified and the resulting use-related risks are assessed. For this, the tasks are categorized (in system and user tasks) and modeled and temporally related within the framework of a high-level task analysis. Within a subsequent cognitive low-level task analysis, potentially critical parallel process sequences are then tested in order to detect a potential resource overload of the user. The subsequent corresponding human-risk analysis is developed according to a knowledge base (checklist) of taxonomies related to human error. The HiFEM (human-function effect modeling) methodology is universally applicable and can be used for the evaluation of human-computer interfaces as well as for the analysis of purely mechanical control interfaces and simple hand-held instruments (such as a scalpel and implant). In a comparative study, the HiFEM method clearly outperforms the classic FMEA (failure modes and effects analysis) process with regard to effectiveness, efficiency, learnability, and user satisfaction. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises that constitute the medical device industry can be supported by the new methodology in the context of risk management according to ISO 14971 as well as usability engineering in accordance with IEC 62366 and IEC 60601-1-6 as well as EN ISO 9241.

Concepts: Engineering, RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, Implant, Risk, Biomedical engineering, Usability, Medical device

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The present work was originally published in European Radiology and as a PhD thesis at the RWTH Aachen University and was conducted at the Institute for Experimental Molecular Imaging at the RWTH Aachen University. Citation Format: • Bzyl J. Establishment of Functional and Molecular Ultrasound for Breast Cancer Xenograft Imaging. Fortschr Röntgenstr 2014; 186: 377 - 379.

Concepts: Aachen, RWTH Aachen, University, RWTH Aachen University

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A partnership between Brazil’s first undergraduate program in Acoustical Engineering and the Institute of Technical Acoustics of RWTH Aachen University yielded in a didactic project that uses the engineering software MATLAB with the ITA-Toolbox to teach acoustic measurements. Simple electrical circuits are used to mimic typical behavior of acoustical systems. This low-cost solution has proven to be didactically very effective since it helps students to identify themselves with the measurement tasks. Two hardware solutions were developed-a simple oscillator circuit integrated into connectors of audio cables and a desktop box containing seven different transfer characteristics ranging from ideal linear and time-invariant to nonlinear and time-varying behavior. Undergraduate students of Acoustical Engineering used both devices in classroom experiments for self-guided learning by comparing their results to published results. Students were able to learn the fundamental concepts of acoustical measurements and to handle measurement tasks. Besides the practical experiences and the learning effect, the students were also encouraged to step into the open source routines of the software, understand the signal processing steps, adapt routines, and even write their own ones, e.g., a GUI that provides effective control of the measurement via touch-screens.

Concepts: Aachen, RWTH Aachen, University, RWTH Aachen University, Acoustics